Help Local Kids Learn English
For children in Costa Rica nothing beyond the Three R's in their own language is as valuable for them to learn as English. Young adults with a working knowledge of English have vastly more opportunities than their mono-lingual peers. This is especially important in Tortuguero where tourism is the largest source of employment. Yet in Tortuguero the majority of children grow-up without learning English.How Can I Help
In July 2010 we started an experiment to see whether it would work for our guests to help local kids learn English. Before we started we asked the kids if they were interested.
Below are two of their responses:
Evanny Maciel Bermúdez Jaén. 11 years old: I live with my parents and my 10 brothers and sisters. I would like to learn to speak English because it will be useful to me. A lot of tourists visit my school and if I speak English I can guide them.
Héctor de Jesús Sánchez García. 12 years old: I live with my parents and my four brothers. I want to learn to speak English because it will help me with many things in the future when I am a grown up. I can teach other kids, also when I get a job as a guide English is very important.
5 months later, November 2010
Below Maciel and Hector's responses are exact transcriptions of some of what they answered when we asked them to tell us in English how they felt about guests helping them to learn the language. There answers were recorded on November 30, 2010; 5 months after the program began.
Evanny Maciel Bermúdez: "What I have learned is very important for me and my friends. I don't remember all the tourists, but all them are nice. With the tourists in class they help us with pronunciation."
Héctor Sánchez: "In these five months I have learned a lot. I remember a tourist that helped me with our reading. He was very patient."
Our next question is whether the guests would enjoy it. We asked a couple of guests who took part in October for their reactions.
Patty Chang Anker: "Oh I loved being a part of it. I found it so exciting to see young people so motivated and so interested to learn English, and working really hard at it. I was amazed…. For them to be that interested in learning our language I found it extremely moving."
Jennifer Patterson: "I loved meeting the children & was impressed by how much they'd already learned I think they were a little nervous since we were strangers & they were on show, so to speak.They all looked very serious & were on their best behaviour. I'd like to have spent much longer with them… I was impressed with how basic their school is - kids in North America are so spoiled, aren't they?"
You are an expert at spoken English. If you would find it rewarding to spend an hour during one or more of the days that you will be at Tortuga Lodge sharing your English knowledge and learning about the life of children from Tortuguero and would like to reserve your space, please let your Travel Planner know when you confirm. We will schedule the sessions seamlessly during your stay at Tortuga Lodge. To not overwhelm the local kids, we have to limit the number of guests who participate at any one time. We cannot promise that space will be available during your stay.
All materials are provided for you. Informal lessons take place in the town of San Francisco de la Boca de Tortuguero. Transit time from the lodge by boat is five minutes. The Lodge will supply the transportation. There is no charge.
We believe you will find this experience personally enriching. Children as young as 10 are welcome to participate.
All we need to know are the names and ages of the people in your group that are interested in participating.
If you do participate we'd love to have your feedback and suggestions.
A year and a half later, the Word Adventure Program continues to succeed. The program has grown from the initial 9 students to a total of 43 students in 4 different levels of English. The smallest Class has 3 students and the largest has 22. The kids range in age from 7-23 and come from all over the region for English classes.
Not only are the kids learning English at a level that is far better than what is taught in the Costa Rican public school system, they are also learning about life and what the world has to offer.
To date 335 guests, and counting, have participated in the Word Adventure program. Below are some of the comments that they've sent us about their experience.
Thank you so much for the great photo's. We just got back to Dublin yesterday evening after having brilliant time in Costa Rica. It will always be a special place for us... Thank you for the opportunity to spend time with the children. You are doing a great job. The children were wonderful, all so happy. It makes a refreshing change.
Keep up the good work.
Chat to you soon.
Hello, Marco! My mom and I are back home and are still smiling from our wonderful vacation in Costa Rica :-)
One of our favorite experiences was the Word Adventure Program, where we taught English to 2 students in San Francisco, just north of Tortuga Lodge. The teacher Keri was great…
Best Regards, Rachel
Hi, Keri ~ Hope you and all your students are well!
Susan Pritt and I visited and helped with your word adventure English class last January while staying @ Tortuga Lodge. I am so glad Sheyla hooked us up with you - it was fun! I was amazed at your students' reading & pronunciation skills as well as how quickly they buzzed through an English version of "go fish!" and the flashcard (in English) exercises. I've really boasted you AND them up with some of my local Oregon teacher friends.
Pura Vida ~
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